ICYMI: “Stabilizing U.S. debt greater of two G-20 challenges”

June 29, 2010

Today’s Washington Post discusses the U.S.’ greatest fiscal challenge — stabilizing the US debt:

An international push to cut deficits in half by 2013 may sound impressive, but the United States already is on track to meet that target without significant policy changes. The harder task for President Obama will be achieving a second goal adopted by the nation’s largest economies over the weekend: stabilizing the soaring U.S. debt.

“The short-term goal is neither particularly ambitious nor particularly relevant. You get most of the way there just from the economy picking up,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the nonpartisan Concord Coalition, which advocates deficit reduction. However, to rein in the debt, Bixby said, “they really are going to have to get into undoing some policies that are popular.”

Obama has acknowledged that reining in the national debt, which now exceeds 56 percent of the U.S. economy’s annual output, may require changes to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare — and to a “tax system that is messy and unfair,” as he said Sunday in Toronto. But Obama has sought to postpone that reckoning until after this fall’s midterm elections, creating an independent, bipartisan commission to develop a long-term plan to rebalance the federal budget.

Europe’s pivot toward government austerity is helping to fuel the anti-spending mood in Congress. Highly indebted European countries are slashing spending with varying degrees of urgency, depending on whether they have come under pressure from bond markets, such as Greece and Spain, or are working to avoid it, such as Britain.

Click here to read the Washington Post article in its entirety.

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